Since the beginning of time, humans have been an essential part of the earth and its environment. For all those years , the earth has provided sustainability for the people. The sustainability  has been provided through food, natural resources and shelter. Among the three, natural resources have played the biggest role in enriching our lives. Natural resources such as fossil fuels, precious stones and metal are the most enriching to us. Due to the high value associated with these naturally occurring elements, people will go to great lengths and heights to get even a small peace.

Most of these high value elements are located in specific sites , which means they can be near the surface or deep in the earth’s crust.  People use various methods to extract the materials , which over time damage the surrounding environment. Over the years ,more places have become exploited as we try to get richer and richer. Therefore , here is a list of the most exploited places around the world.

Earth’s Crust

One of the famously exploited places on earth is the crust (On land). The earth’s crust has been used for years to mine , excavate and forcefully remove high value objects such as gold, diamonds , zinc, salt , sand among other valuable elements. Due to the many years spent removing these elements significant damage has been done leaving some of the most exploited places around the world. Here is a list of all the most significant places that have been exploited over time.

  • Bingham Canyon Mine

The Bingham Canyon Mine, located in Utah is one of the leading exploited places in the world and the United States. It is considered one of the largest open mining location since it spans over 4km (2.5 miles) and over 1,200 meters (3,600 feet deep). It is so extensive that it can be seen from space! Since its ground breaking in the year 1906, it has produced over 19 million tonnes of copper, silver, molybdenum, and gold. Due the bountiful minerals in the area, the mine is continually expanding and getting deeper.

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An aerial view of the mine

The continous exploitation has earned billions in revenue but has produced only adverse efffects to the environement. The exploitation is so severe that on the 10th day of April 2013, a massive landslide engulfed the area. Man-made rock avalanches moving over 113 km/h (70 m/h) moved down  Rio Tinto-Kennecott, which is located about 30 kilometers (18 miles) southwest of Salt Lake City, with over 70 million cubic meters (100 cubic yards) of waste and debris. Enough to cover the central part in New York 66 feet deep!

Other than the visible exploitation and damage , the mine was also estimated to produce enough pollution similar to smoking 20 cigarettes a day. The findings were even used as part of lawsuit in the Utah District court.

Features of mine obscured by landslide material labeled debris.
An Image showing the site of the Bingham landslide and movement of debris

There are thousands of many other mines around the world and have severe damage to the immediate environment.

Earth’s Water Surfaces

Over 70 percent of the earth’s surface is covered in water. The percentage includes both ice and moisture in air. Due to the vastness of the water surface, it is highly exploited , thus is eventually polluted. Just like crust mentioned above, water numerous minerals and uses that are profitable to corporations. Thus, many methods have been used to extract and utilize these resources to the maximum. Here are some of the most exploited;

  • Deep Sea Mining

The earth’s deep sea contains more minerals that those found on the surface. According to the USGS, deep sea contains more cobalt and other rare minerals than all those combined on the crust. The abundance has caused a “gold rush” to take advantage of these rare minerals. In the recent rush to build more efficient green electric cars, mining corporations argue that there is a need for diversification from the convenctional mining areas. Thus, it might replace onland mining of metals such as cobalt.

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Deep sea mining apparatus

Major mining expecnditions are expected to commence by the year 2026 with over 29 permits issued. The “cobalt rush” will have severe impact not only to the marine ecosystem but also the stability of the sea beds. According to a study , soft sediment in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone (CCZ) in the mid-Pacific, where most exploration licences have been granted, could take up to 10 times longer to resettle than previously thought, meaning sediment is likely to travel farther in the water column before it resettles, affecting marine life.

Further from this, scientists have been havesting marine life for reserch purposes. For instance, an antibiotic to fight cancer has been syntheised from the sponge , which thrives deep in the sea. Despite this providing hope for cancer and other diseases, the potential of deep sea bacterias will cause a rush similar to that of valuable minerals. The marine life will be exploited and destroyed for life.

  • Rivers and Lakes

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The Drying Up Colorado River

Rivers and lakes have formed a good source for drinking and industrial water. The continous use of these water sources has led to exploitation to the point of them running dry.  Some of these rivers have been heavily polluted by industries and transport to the point of killing all the existing marinr life.Here are the  most exploited water sources that have been adversly affected; Colorado River ,Indus River,Amu Darya River,Syr Darya River,Rio Grande River,Yellow River,Teesta River, and Murray River

Air and Space

For many years , we have been exploiting the air and space surrounding us. The air travel has caused severe damage through pollution. The ever increasing population of aircrafts increasing a significant carbon fooot print. As much as there are measures to reduce this pollution, corporations continue to frustrate these efforts. On the other hand , space travel has continued to release more pollution through break way debris and fuel emmisions.

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Airplane Emissions while taking off

We need to reduce the exploitation if we want to survive another decade.